All Articles Tagged "media"
Is hip-hop destroying black America? To answer this question fairly, we must first discard the distorted image of hip hop that mainstream media has passed off for the past 20 years.
Hip-hop is a movement consisting of four main artistic elements: DJ’ing, rapping, breaking and graffiti. But at its core, it is a philosophy based on the idea that self expression is an integral part of the pursuit of peace, love and unity. It was created by young visionaries who tapped into their greatest potential and gave birth to one of the most important cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen.
Shaped by the spirit of Africa, The Carribean and black America, it is a culture that binds us under the belief that we must strive for excellence through our respective art forms, as well as within our souls. It’s a lifestyle that unites people from the U.S to Nigeria, France to Brazil, Japan to Mexico, often unable to speak each other’s language but fully capable of understanding all that makes us who we are.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
Jada Pinkett has been using her Facebook page to air out all sorts of social commentaries lately. Last week, she asked why so many heterosexual women were turning to other women as a last romantic resort, on Saturday, she talked about the oppression men have been forced to endure, and on Sunday she spoke out on what she considers to be bullying towards young celebrities at the hands of the media. She wrote in her post titled, “Are We Bullying Our Young Artists,” which included a photo of Rihanna, Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift, and Quvenzhané Wallis:
How can we ask for our young stars to have a high level of responsibility if we are not demonstrating that same level of responsibility towards them?
This last week, I had to really evaluate the communication in regard to our young artists in the media. I was trying to differentiate cyber-bullying from how we attack and ridicule our young stars through media and social networks. It is as if we have forgotten what it means to be young or even how to behave like good ol’ grown folk. Do we feel as though we can say and do what we please without demonstrating any responsibility simply because they are famous?
Is it okay to continually attack and criticize a famous 19 year old who is simply trying to build a life, exercise his talents while figuring out what manhood and fame is all about as he carries the weight of supporting his family as well as providing the paychecks to others who depend on him to work so they can feed their families as well? Does that render being called a Douchebag by an adult male photographer as you try to return to your hotel after leaving the the hospital? Or what about our nine year old beautiful Oscar nominee who was referred to as a Douchebag as well? Or what about being a young woman in her early twenties, exploring the intricacies of love and power on the world stage? And should we shame a young woman for displaying a sense of innocence as she navigates through the murky waters of love, heartbreak, and fame? Are these young people not allowed to be young, make mistakes, grow, and eventually transform a million times before our eyes? Are we asking them to defy the laws of nature because of who they are? Why can’t we congratulate them for the capacity to work through their challenges on a world stage and still deliver products that keep them on top.
We all know how hard it is to keep our head above water, even in the privacy of our own homes let alone on the world stage. Imagine yourself, at their age, with the spotlights, challenges and responsibilities. Most of us would have fallen to the waste side before we could even get to a crashed Ferrari, a controversial romance, several heart breaks, or an Oscar nomination at NINE. We WISH we could have had the capacity to accomplish HALF of what they have accomplished along with ALL these challenges they face. But…maybe THAT’S the problem…we WISH we could have or even…we WISH we could.
I don’t know if I would put Rihanna in the same boat as a young actress like Quvenzhané, but I do get the point Jada is trying to make — though at some point I think we need to ask whether some of these stars have made their own beds long before the media got a hold of their rude boy behavior.
As a general rule though, name calling is never an appropriate exchange among anyone personally or professionally, particularly when there is a marked age difference between the parties, but someone needs to take it upon themselves to educate these young artists on the type of consequences that come along with acting out under such a huge spotlight. The blame can be equally split between these two parties.
What do you think about what Jada wrote?
On Monday, McDonald’s restaurants in the New York area honored Black Media Legends and Trailblazers at a luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria. Among the honorees were CNN’s Don Lemon, The Grio and MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid, and Power 105’s DJ Clue.
But the name on everyone’s lips, reports Fishbowl NY, was Sue Simmons. After 32 years as a local New York newscaster with WNBC, her contract wasn’t renewed and she left the anchor desk for the last time in June.
In an interview with the website, Simmons said that she was hoping something would happen to keep her in her job.
“The last several months from March to June was pretty much a nightmare for me,” she said. “Because after you’ve worked with your teams and your friends for that long it’s very difficult to come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to be anymore.”
She adds that she “got the feeling that they had softened their position” and was surprised when she hadn’t.
Comcast and NBC announced a merger in 2009, and it was ultimately approved by the FCC in 2011. Shiba Russell is now sharing the anchor duties with Chuck Scarborough. He has been with the broadcast since 1974. (Simmons joined in 1980).
“The positive of it is that another black person is employed in television in a high-visible spot. The negative of it for me is it looks like they’re trying to duplicate,” she says.
In the exhaustive interview with Fishbowl NY, Simmons says she’s still interested in television, but would like to try something different, like being a “talking head.”
For longtime New Yorkers (or natives, like myself), Sue Simmons was a fixture on television. It would be great to see her back on the air.
The cuts at CNN could get deeper very quickly.
Just yesterday, we reported that Soledad O’Brien has been removed from her morning anchor position, among other changes. Now, Fishbowl DC is reporting that Roland Martin and Donna Brazile could be the next two on the chopping block. The website notes that three new faces — civil rights activist Van Jones, The New York Times’ Charles Blow, and Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher — have appeared regularly on the network as of late. And both Martin and Brazile were excluded from the network’s coverage of the inauguration.
Brazile is also an ABC correspondent; Martin has a program on TV One and serves as an analyst on Tom Joyner’s program.
In other media news, Long anticipated cuts are going to be made at Time Inc., which, like many media companies, is suffering at the hands of dropping newsstand readership and advertising sales. According to Bloomberg, 500 positions are being eliminated, about six percent of the company’s workforce. Essence, Real Simple, and People are among the magazine titles at Time. Cuts are expected across all divisions.
Perhaps it wasn’t as much of an historic occasion this time around (although the re-election of our first black President is a very big deal). That could explain the viewing drop off for Monday’s inaugural events.
The 2013 Inauguration of President Obama pulled in fewer television viewers than in 2009, when he became the first African American to take the highest office in the United States. According to The Hollywood Reporter, cable news viewership dropped by roughly 10 million during the half-hour swearing in, with CNN topping MSNBC and Fox News Channel. Nielsen’s Fast National ratings for the Monday event were not surprisingly down. Combined averages from CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel was just about seven million viewers.
For the special coverage, CNN averaged 3.14 million viewers during the swearing in, 1.11 million of them in the key 25-to-54 age demographic. During primetime, CNN averaged 3.57 million total viewers, with 1.27 million adults ages 25-to-54 watching.
Compare this to Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony, which averaged nearly 38 million viewers with cable and broadcast networks combined.
Did you watch this year?
Condoleezza Rice is coming to television. CBS News chairman, Jeff Fager, and the president of the news network, David Rhodes, announced that Rice will be coming on board as a regular contributor. The Hollywood Reporter quotes a CBS statement, saying the former Secretary of State “will use her insight and vast experience to explore issues facing America at home and abroad.”
Rice, who currently holds the position of professor of political science at Stanford University, was Secretary of State under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009, and national security adviser from 2001 to 2005.
Rice isn’t the only Bush cabinet member to make the jump to TV. “Other figures from the Bush administration have been hired as television commentators, including Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff, and the former United Nations ambassador, John Bolton, both at Fox News,” reports the NY Times.
Rice is also a founding partner of a business consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates. She’s also one of the first women to be admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club, and was even tossed into the ring of future presidential candidates after her speech at the Republican National Convention last year.
Africa has been the object of much attention lately as saturated markets in America and Europe have caused many to seek opportunity on the continent. Answering this new wave of interest, Africa-centric magazines and digital destinations like Arise, AfriPOP!, Orijin Culture, and MIMI magazine have cropped up, while L’Uomo Vogue dedicated its June 2012 issue to the continent. Now, New York-based Ghana native Sandra Appiah has launched Face 2 Face Africa magazine with business partner Isaac O. Babu-Boateng.
With no major investment behind the venture, and determined to launch in costly print even as publications like Newsweek are migrating to digital, Appiah, 23, only four years out of Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications, is unwavering in her belief in the magazine. What’s so special about Face 2 Face Africa, or F2FA as she’s nicknamed the magazine? Appiah makes the case.
Madame Noire: Why did you start Face2Face Africa (F2FA)?
Sandra Appiah: F2FA was conceptualized about two years ago to fill the void of a high-end, multi-niche, and soulful pan-African publication within the global magazine industry, and serve as an influential platform for the emergent generation of African descendants. We believe that an informed, enterprising, and interconnected pan-African generation deserves a discerning, eclectic, and soulful voice. Our goal, simply put, is to be this VOICE!
MN: How did you launch the magazine without major investment or backing?
SA: The lack of funding definitely posed a lot of challenges and elongated the release of the magazine. We were married to our goal of creating an outstanding product, and as such, we had to be very patient and strategically secure the resources that we needed. But once we started moving, we were very fortunate to receive a lot of support from individuals who identified with the importance of our mission. We utilized all our resources, and with persistence, devotion, and passion, we successfully launched. I’ve learned that when your passion burns, it turns into the investment that you need to keep going!
MN: Why did you decide to create a printed magazine in the age of digital?
SA: It is important to us that our publication has a presence on magazine stands. Sure, some experts say that print is dying, but there have remained quite a few print titles that continue to make an impact. I think the key is creating a niche and filling a void.
Certainly, F2FA is unique, as there is no existing publication that does exactly what we do in the way that we do it. We do have plans on being eminent on the digital platform so we can better serve the needs of all our readers.
MN: How is F2FA different from Arise, and other African lifestyle pubs on stands?
SA: These are all great publications that I give a lot of credit for showcasing Africa in a positive and progressive light, however, they are all known for a specific concentration, being fashion, culture, or entertainment, which is great. But what we wanted to do with F2FA was to be the bridge. As such, we take pride in being multi-niche, a platform for all areas including politics, development, entertainment, culture, and fashion. We are distinctive for our holistic approach and the unique perspectives of our writers and contributors. Our tone and creative direction are also different. It is important to us that African images, concepts and ideals are infused in our creative and artistic direction. This is where the soulfulness of our magazine comes from.
While most folks will be ending the year, reminiscing about the most important stories of the year, I want to draw attention – again- to what I believe is, hands down, the dumbest “major” news story to come out of 2012: The stir-up over Gabby Douglas’ hair.
Seriously, the girl flipped, straddled and somersaulted her way to individual Olympic gold, becoming the first Black woman to do so in history, yet for months the nation, particularly Black America, was gripped by the “harrowing” tale of 16 year old Douglas’ ponytail and rough edges. If you were like me, you didn’t care one way or the other about her hair or whoever had something to say about it. However, after the umpteenth time seeing it in your newsfeed, or having it show up in your inbox or being asked about in in casual conversation while at lunch, you were forced to have an opinion.
No less than five people asked me my thoughts on the Douglas “hair controversy,” including my 82-year old grandmother, who said she heard about the story while watching one of her entertainment gossip shows. She thought that “they” should leave that girl alone. Who the “they” was, she didn’t know. And fact, nobody really knew. But eventually major news sites grabbed the baton from gossip blogs and began publishing various articles and columns, not only lambasting these nameless hair detractors but also tie this hair “controversy” into a much bigger conversation on black women and natural hair. Even Douglas, who was still in the midst of competing at the Olympics, was forced to break focus and address these nameless hair detractors.
Likewise, there was a lot of self righteous hair-dignation in the Black blogosphere and Twitterverse. Memes and long diatribes via Facebook, expressing opinions from both sides of the “controversy” did little but to fuel what was an already simmering beef between #teamNatural and #teamWeaveandPerm. At one point my Facebook news feed began to look like Madame Re-Re’s Beauty Salon from Spike Lee’s School Daze. And after a while, the Douglas name stopped being spoken about in reference to this newly christened moment in black history but instead, she became the poster child for some very complex themes, which at times felt a lot more deeper-rooted than a discussion about hair.
According to this story from earlier this year in Ebony, “The story can be traced back to one blog post, quoting all three disparaging comments, that Jezebel slapped a few more tweets on as proof of a trend. Everyone from NPR and LA Times has since weighed in, all seemingly basing their analysis on the Jezebel piece and a small sampling of tweets. Outlets have specifically searched for negative tweets about Gabby, probably ignoring more celebratory tweets. We should question whether the coverage reflects an actual trend, or confirmation bias creating a news story out of a few isolated fools being mean on the internet. It’s possible that the real viral story is the original piece and the media furor it’s spawned. “
I agree that media outlets played a major role in why this story had legs. However there is also something to be said about why a story that amounted to pure “gossip” on Twitter had resonated so much, with so many people, to the point of going viral for months? Does our public discourse on Gabby’s hair change the fact that she is a gold winning gymnast? Of course, we all know that Gabby didn’t need our praise or accolades to win the medal. Heck, most folks had no idea who she was until after she won the gold. But it is just a shame that her name and her history making Olympic win now has an *asterisk next to it. And probably for the rest of her life, she will always have to answer questions about her hair.
From Eur Web
Actor Morgan Freeman said on Sunday that he did not issue a statement blaming the media for sensationalizing the Newtown School shootings that left 20 children and six adults dead.
The actor added that he never made or posted the statement that became a Facebook and Internet sensation, saying it was a hoax.
Read more at EurWeb.com.
It’s been 18 months since The Oprah Winfrey Show left the air. Ms. Winfrey has kept herself busy managing a magazine, an XM radio channel, a television channel, and an online presence that includes a content channel on The Huffington Post. Despite all of this, the New York Times recently questioned whether the era of Oprah has come to an end.
The absence of daily face time with her millions of fans has impacted Winfrey’s brand in ways even she didn’t anticipate. Her magazine and website experienced a decline in revenue and sales. Her television network’s rough start is well documented.
If anyone else’s name were attached to these projects they would still be deemed a success. But high expectations are a common side effect of greatness. Lady O doesn’t seem to be checking for her critics’ opinions anymore. Instead she is setting her sights on expanding her audience to include a younger demographic.
Can Oprah Be Hip?
Oprah is influential, but she stopped being cool in the 90s. The median age for an O magazine reader is 49. But Ms. Winfrey thinks she has something to offer younger generations. At her magazine’s annual conference, she said she would like to attract women “in their 30s or perhaps their 20s, to be able to reach people when they are looking to fulfill their destiny.” She added, “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.”
Oprah has made it clear that she won’t stray from her message of “living your best life.” Rightfully so, it is clearly her passion and has become a primary part of her brand along with interviewing the most noteworthy names in pop culture. Oprah seems to be hitting her stride in adapting the latter to new platforms. Appearances by gossip blog favorites Evelyn Lozada and Maia Campbell on self-help guru Iyanla Vanzant’s show, Fix My Life, hint that she is working out how to use one of her trademarks to boost the popularity of the other.
Spirituality For a New Age
Oprah was originally criticized for her New Age spirituality that didn’t identify with a set religion. But the inclusive nature of her faith is the perfect fit for younger audiences. A recent study found that 72 percent of millennials, the generation between 18 and 30 years old, say they are more spiritual than religious.
Despite not identifying with a religion, or maybe because of it, young people crave spiritual direction. Holistic lifestyle topics like wellness, spirituality, and healthy living are becoming increasingly mainstream. Oprah was already covering these topics on her show. She continues to use platforms like OWN to bring spiritual advisors of all kinds to a mass audience. Now is the perfect time for Winfrey to lead this conversation for a new generation.
An Army For Oprah
At 58, Oprah can’t speak the language of millennials, but she can empower people who do. I want Oprah to be satisfied with hanging out with Tyler Perry on the weekends and leave him out of her business. His 12-hour block on TBS is more than sufficient. OWN and her bevy of multimedia channels needs to empower a new generation of spiritual ambassadors that promote her message.
An army of young, diverse men and women empowering other young people to live their best life is a powerful image. In exchange for Oprah’s stamp of approval, this band of brand ambassadors will bring a much-needed hipness to the Oprah brand and bring fresh content and followings to her other platforms. This strategy is nothing new to Oprah. She’s producing most of daytime television (Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, and Dr. Oz) using the same formula.
Taking shots at Oprah has become a popular pastime but it’s silly to bet against her at this stage in the game. Her public journey to reshape her career shows us all how success happens. Most of the time you’re not a hit straight out the gate. Greatness requires a never-ending process of trial and error that constantly reevaluates and recalibrates your efforts.
The woman credited with getting Middle America to vote for our nation’s first Black president does not have the option of sitting around twiddling her thumbs. It would be irresponsible for her and her influence to sit at home and count coins. Dreams are easier than ever to achieve, and we need someone to remind us of this. If anyone is up for the job, it’s Ms. Winfrey.